There are few decisions you’ll make that impact your business more than who you hire. That said, many small businesses make major mistakes in the hiring process. Be sure to look out for items on our list of hiring mistakes to avoid.
Things to avoid when hiring
Hiring can be a daunting task for small business owners. To make the process easier, pay attention to these nine points to avoid when hiring new employees.
#1: Value a candidate’s attitude
Some companies have built empires out of hiring people with positive attitudes. Even if your main priority isn’t enthusiasm, the right attitude is crucial.
It’s better to hire someone who is positive and hungry to learn than negative and unmotivated. This is true if you do a lot of team-based work at your business. Teams tend to embrace new members who are upbeat. Be sure to pay attention to your candidates’ attitudes as you search for new employees.
#2: Take your time choosing a new employee
Even when you need to fill a position quickly, screen candidates thoroughly. At first, finding an employee might take longer. But, taking your time with hiring will save you money and manpower in the long run.
If you rush, you might end up hiring someone who is unable to perform the work you need them to do. The quality of your business could suffer from hiring an unqualified employee. You will end up going through the hiring process again, costing you more time and money.
#3: Don’t let personality blind you to facts
Though attitude is important, be sure the candidate can do the work you need them to do. After all, you are hiring the person because you need a job to be accomplished. To keep your business running smoothly, make sure the potential employee is qualified.
It’s tough to be critical with an employee who has a good personality. Let’s say you hire an employee because you liked their upbeat personality. But during their probationary period, you found their quality of work was not making the cut.
As a small business owner, you need to check your new hire’s work objectively. Keep in mind that you hired the person to do a job, not to entertain you.
#4: Avoid recruiting all your employees’ friends
Your employees can be valuable sources for referrals. If your employees have good character, chances are you will benefit from having an employee referral program (see more). But, if your workplace becomes your employees’ new hangout spot, it could be bad for business.
Also, if all your employees are close, several people might quit if one decides not to work for you anymore. If employees quit as a group, your ability to keep pace with your business’s demands could be damaged.
#5: Pay an employee their worth
As a small business, you might not need top experts in your industry working for you. Instead, you probably need an extra set of hands that can get the job done efficiently and correctly. Learning how to set salaries is important. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on an employee whose expertise requires a salary higher than your budget.
If a potential employee pushes for an unusually high salary, look at their qualifications. Follow up with the candidate’s references to confirm their claims. You can also conduct a background check on the candidate.
On the other hand, be sure not to underpay an employee. After reviewing their credentials, your budget, and industry standards, offer a fair salary.
#6: Hire for the long term
Many employees are engaged with their work during their new employee onboarding (see more). Often, new employees want to make a good impression and prove themselves.
After a time, employees might become burned out or disengaged with their work. When that happens, offer them other opportunities to keep them engaged and productive.
Identify your company’s hiring needs. If you need a short-term employee, make it known that you are looking for someone to work short term. If you need a long-term employee, be upfront about the job to the candidate. Also, make sure the employee will have enough work to do once hired.
#7: Review your candidate’s references
A candidate might say they are a quality worker, but if they struggle to find a few references, are they really? Collect references with employment applications. Thoroughly check your potential employees’ references and ask about the candidate’s history.
If possible, ask to speak with colleagues of references that may have worked with the candidate. The more you speak to references, the clearer picture you will have of their capabilities.
#8: Listen to your gut
As a business owner, you can’t discount the instincts involved in running your business. You know how to recognize good opportunities and liabilities. If your gut is telling you a candidate is a bad match, you might want to listen to it.
#9: Get several opinions
Hiring an employee is a big decision. Recruit help from your managers and employees to hire new employees. When possible, conduct several interviews with a candidate and have a different person interview them each time. Or, have panel interviews where a few people interview the candidate at the same time.
Several interviewers cut down biases about education, experiences, or the value of certain skills. Often, a person in one position will weigh job skills differently than someone in another. The more insights you can weigh against one another, the better hire choice you’ll make.